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Yokota Hercs find their Northern Edge

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Natalie Doan
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, supported units with air mobility operations during Northern Edge 23-2, at Kadena Air Base and Japan Air Self-Defense Force Hyakuri Air Base, Japan, July 2–21.

Northern Edge is a joint field training exercise that gives multinational forces the opportunity to refine tactics, techniques, and procedures with high-end, realistic training.

Working together this way enhances agility and coordination between nations, should a crisis occur in the Indo-Pacific.

Members of the 36th AS ensured the training needs of participating nations were met, with aircrews flying 12–14 hours per day to deliver equipment and personnel.

Capt. Lauren Casulli, 374th Operations Support Squadron instructor pilot, served as an aircraft commander during NE 23-2, leading a crew of four Airmen as they provided airlift support.

“Northern Edge was a chance to demonstrate and test our Agile Combat Employment capabilities,” said Casulli. “We seized the opportunity to showcase our strengths while adapting and fine-tuning our processes to potential challenges in real time. Every individual involved in Northern Edge worked ceaselessly towards accomplishing the mission and enabled a successful exercise.”

This iteration of Northern Edge brought together members from four branches of the U.S. military — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. Together, they worked alongside their JASDF counterparts to hone current and future defense capabilities at various locations in the Pacific region.

For Staff Sgt. Matthew Muravez, 36th AS loadmaster, NE 23-2 was an invaluable training experience.

“As a new loadmaster, I have been flying operationally for about four months, and this was my first time participating in a big exercise,” said Muravez. “I had never transported that much cargo or that many passengers before, so I learned a lot, and it was a very eye-opening experience.”

The 36th AS and other participating units used NE 23-2 as an opportunity to prepare for the demands of an ever-evolving security environment while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to the rules-based international order that has served the Indo-Pacific region so well.

Throughout the remainder of the summer, the U.S. and various partners will continue conducting multiple exercises in the region to enhance integration and interoperability. These multilateral training events will prepare the U.S. and allied forces to remain adaptive to contingencies in the Indo-Pacific, with the confidence and readiness to respond — anywhere, anytime.